Why the price difference? - Shooting Sports Forum


Ruger Mini-14 and Mini-30 Ruger Mini-14 and Mini-30 family of rifles

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Old 03-19-2017, 09:22   #1
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Why the price difference?

I see the Ruger AR556 on sale at RK guns for $499.99. The best price I have found on a Ruger Mini is around $780. Not trying to start another Mini vs. thread, but any insight on the price difference?
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Old 03-19-2017, 09:45   #2
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I think it's a combination of the AR being cheaper to produce and Ruger not having any real competition to their Mini platform.

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Old 03-19-2017, 14:28   #3
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Ruger investment casts almost all of the parts for the mini 14. They put welds on the op-rod. These are HIGH skill prcedures. I don't think people know how hard it is to find somebody thats skilled to do that stuff professionally in a manufacturing environment. If you don't believe me, look at the cost of the new manufactured M1 carbines and M1As. You can automate almost all of the manufacture of the parts for an AR. Labor costs are no joke. They are up especially for skilled labor like this. Add to that the insane competition in the AR market. Olympic arms just went out of business. Colt is on the edge. There are no margins on the AR's.
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Old 03-20-2017, 04:27   #4
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I took my little tactical 14 to the range yesterday and shot with the range officer, just me and him, and he was using a Ruger AR556. I said it before and I'll say it again, they are crap. You couldn't give me one even if they dropped another 100 on the price. He wanted to see if his AR556 could cycle tulammo and had some bowling pins set up at 150 yards. He didn't hit a damn thing cause the Ruger AR would not cycle the crap ammo. My 22 year old Mini 14 on the other hand ate every single cartridge of Tula and Monarch steel case ammo that I brought with out a hick up, and knock out a few pins while I was at it. The Range officer's Ruger AR's bolt was gritty, the trigger sucked, it sounded like a rattle trap, shot gun accuracy when it could cycle bulk ammo, and the amount of malfunctions was ridiculous. Now on the other hand, the range officer is a hand loader and has some really nice brass. The Ruger AR556 had zero problems with the good stuff, and was getting 2inch groups at 100 yards. Needless to say he was still disappointed that the AR had so many problems with cheap factory ammo. Now he did also have a old Bushmaster that ran like a champ and was highly accurate, so that just shows you not every AR is the same. I would just stick with the Mini and take the guess work out of the equation.
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Old 03-20-2017, 07:23   #5
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Originally Posted by Coletrain View Post
Ruger investment casts almost all of the parts for the mini 14. They put welds on the op-rod. These are HIGH skill prcedures. I don't think people know how hard it is to find somebody thats skilled to do that stuff professionally in a manufacturing environment. If you don't believe me, look at the cost of the new manufactured M1 carbines and M1As. You can automate almost all of the manufacture of the parts for an AR. Labor costs are no joke. They are up especially for skilled labor like this. Add to that the insane competition in the AR market. Olympic arms just went out of business. Colt is on the edge. There are no margins on the AR's.
Interesting information.
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Old 03-21-2017, 01:43   #6
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Originally Posted by Coletrain View Post
Ruger investment casts almost all of the parts for the mini 14. They put welds on the op-rod. These are HIGH skill procedures. I don't think people know how hard it is to find somebody thats skilled to do that stuff professionally in a manufacturing environment.
Originally Posted by gdees View Post
Interesting information.
Yeah, Coletrain is spot on about the casting. Investment casting has come along way and can be made stronger than milled steel. If you don't know or haven't seen it, Ruger has a YouTube channel with all kinds of "How It's Made" videos on the Mini 14. I'm sure someone here made a thread about it one time, if not there needs to be one or a sticky thread for it. But I put together a play list for ya of all the YouTube videos on Ruger's manufacturing process. It is some pretty interesting stuff.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZBYw...0MJ9abwmUXHAzk
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Old 03-21-2017, 12:26   #7
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It is called overpricing due to no competition for the platform and trading on your name and fans, the AR is actually more accurate especially in the AR x39 than the mini 30.
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Old 03-21-2017, 12:45   #8
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I have always taken it with a gran of salt when the accuracy comes up. The competition for the Mini platform in 7.62x39 or 5.56 would be other carbine length rifles in the same caliber, of similar price, semi automatic with detachable magazines. On the question of why the price difference, I think Coletrain hit the nail on the head, more quality goes into the build. I do not think that AR556 would be any more accurate or reliable than the Mini.
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Old 03-21-2017, 13:02   #9
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Well, first off, $499 is an exceptional price for the AR-556 IMO. I generally see them for around $600 retail.

After all is said and done, it comes down to the fact that demand justifies the price. Personally, I don't think it will for much longer. I own both rifles, like them both, but if I could only get one and they cost the same, I'd get the AR for a variety of reasons that I'll just get flamed for on this board.

Hopefully for die hard fans, the glut of decent budget ARs will drive the Mini prices down.

Last edited by lbemont; 03-21-2017 at 13:52.
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Old 03-21-2017, 13:17   #10
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Originally Posted by lbemont View Post
Well, first off, $499 is an exceptional price for the AR-556 IMO. I generally see them for around $600 retail.

After all is said and done, it comes down to the fact that demand justifies the price. Personally, I don't think it will for much longer. I own both rifles, like them both, but if I could only get one and they cost the same, I'd get the AR for a variety of reasons that I'll just get flamed for on this board.

Hopefully for die hard fans, the new glut of decent budget ARs will drive down the Mini prices down.
Burn him at the stake!
Joking aside,
For me its not one is better that the other it comes down to personal preference on what the individual likes to run.
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Old 03-21-2017, 13:29   #11
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I do not think we will ever see a new series Mini at $499 but if there was that Ruger AR556 & a Mini 14 Tactical series at the same price. Who takes that AR? The only M-4 style rifles I would take over a mini are in the $1200 and up price range. Ruger SR 556 Takedown and Mini 14 at the same price, sorry Mini, I would probably go with the SR
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Old 03-21-2017, 13:41   #12
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Egads, $499?
May have to rethink this AR business.
And another upper is..how much?
Get into those really offbeat clibers to spend money on.
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Old 03-21-2017, 13:41   #13
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CALIBERS!
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Old 03-21-2017, 13:59   #14
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https://www.zombiehunters.org/forum/...hp?f=16&t=8419

Why the price difference? Back in the 70s and 80s Colt and Ruger were the only competitors in town; in those days I could (and did) buy a Colt AR15A2 for $541.00 at Sile Guns in Manhattan. I also bought a stainless Ruger Mini-14 for about $324.75.

Just guesstimating for inflation, The Colt should be 1100 and the Ruger should be 650.
Unless Armscor could replicate the investment casting process, nobody else even tries copying Ruger minis. OTOH, today you have Aero Precision, American tactical, Barrett, BCM, Bushmaster/Remington, CMMG, Daniel Defense, Del-Ton, DPMS, FAC, KAC, LaRue, LWRC, PSA, POF, RRA, Seekins, Spikes Tac, S+W, Windham Weaponry, YHM as well as Colt and now even Ruger making AR15 rifles and variants.

There's at least two or three other makers of receivers not even mentioned above. Long term I even envision the AR becoming so ubiquitous DIYing one will become a rite of passage for adulthood.
The core parts that do all the heavy lifting in the AR design are mass produced in such quantity, cost so little for what they do, I'm amazed people don't just stockpile them like ammo.
Building your own AR is so simple nowadays; a laptop, a 6 inch tabletop vise and one critical tool and the average set of house tools would just be enough.
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Old 03-21-2017, 14:24   #15
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Mini-14 Construction as it stands today, maybe two factories on Earth; one in CT, maybe one in AZ.
Despite investment casting use, CNC machining, the parts in too many instances require hand fitting. Quality control is paramount, which is why I'm guessing the whole 582 series problem. With only two factories, only two locations with people that could repair them.

As I mentioned in the link, many likely users looking to arm themselves would be recently former military, therefore most of their experience will be with an AR pattern rifle. The US experience in Iraq rekindled some interest in the M14 rifle, but that only lasted until AR10s were updated for the modern battlefield.
Interest in the M14 did not really translate to the Mini, it pumped up LRB and James River Armory to develop hammer forged receivers and match parts. Springfield Armory uses a lot of investment castings as a cheaper alternative.
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Old 03-21-2017, 14:56   #16
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Three things that a firearm must do as a repeater breechloader. From a loaded, aimed condition;
1) It must fire. This is usually done with a firing pin. AR-15 cost for USGI? 10 from 10 places. A Mini? Glend from MidwayUSA at least 30 if in stock. A factory pin? Free, maybe if under warranty and a RMA tag. But how long could that take? A month? Two?

2) It must extract the spent shell. USGI? 15. Ruger? About the same IF available. Midway or Numrich.

3) It must eject the spent shell. USGI? 2 bucks. Ruger? Pre 580 also 2 bucks if available. 580 and up its combined with the bolt stop and 16 bucks at Midway.

Several companies offer a package deal for all three USGI parts with attendant springs. The bare minimum spare parts kit for 25 bucks or so. A complete bolt carrier assembly could be had for maybe 82, a fully nitrided BCG 100.

I didn't even mention the need to reload from a magazine. USGI with Magpul style followers are ten bucks, maybe on sale for 8?

I'm sure someone else can bring up the current cost of Factory Ruger magazines.
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Old 03-21-2017, 15:29   #17
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Originally Posted by jor-el View Post
Three things that a firearm must do as a repeater breechloader. From a loaded, aimed condition;
1) It must fire. This is usually done with a firing pin. AR-15 cost for USGI? 10 from 10 places. A Mini? Glend from MidwayUSA at least 30 if in stock. A factory pin? Free, maybe if under warranty and a RMA tag. But how long could that take? A month? Two?

2) It must extract the spent shell. USGI? 15. Ruger? About the same IF available. Midway or Numrich.

3) It must eject the spent shell. USGI? 2 bucks. Ruger? Pre 580 also 2 bucks if available. 580 and up its combined with the bolt stop and 16 bucks at Midway.

Several companies offer a package deal for all three USGI parts with attendant springs. The bare minimum spare parts kit for 25 bucks or so. A complete bolt carrier assembly could be had for maybe 82, a fully nitrided BCG 100.

I didn't even mention the need to reload from a magazine. USGI with Magpul style followers are ten bucks, maybe on sale for 8?

I'm sure someone else can bring up the current cost of Factory Ruger magazines.
You bring up some good points
Ruger Magazines are a bit pricey and after market mags can be unreliable.
But the Mini does come with two good quality magazines
I have 12 factory magazines for a Mini 30 and the best price was $30-32 per
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Old 03-21-2017, 15:34   #18
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This thread is turning into AR vs Mini. Someone kill it
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Old 03-21-2017, 16:04   #19
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Originally Posted by James T. Kirk View Post
He wanted to see if his AR556 could cycle tulammo and had some bowling pins set up at 150 yards. He didn't hit a damn thing cause the Ruger AR would not cycle the crap ammo. My 22 year old Mini 14 on the other hand ate every single cartridge of Tula and Monarch steel case ammo that I brought with out a hick up, and knock out a few pins while I was at it. The Range officer's Ruger AR's bolt was gritty, the trigger sucked, it sounded like a rattle trap, shot gun accuracy when it could cycle bulk ammo, and the amount of malfunctions was ridiculous. Now on the other hand, the range officer is a hand loader and has some really nice brass. The Ruger AR556 had zero problems with the good stuff, and was getting 2inch groups at 100 yards. Needless to say he was still disappointed that the AR had so many problems with cheap factory ammo.
Now this may have a lot more to do with Tulammo in .223 Remington. In the Lucky Gunner Steel Case VS Brass test Wolf and Brown Bear completed the test; they did accelerate barrel wear due to steel jackets and rapid use.
Tulammo could not finish the test due to unreliability. With piezo sensors they narrowed down the issue to incompatible powder.
Tulammo used the same powder they use for 7.62x39 loading, something resembling AA2200. This powder has a faster burn rate than H335 or BLC2, generating high pressure early in ignition, pressures dropping down with the bullet still in the barrel.
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Old 03-22-2017, 05:17   #20
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Originally Posted by jor-el View Post
Now this may have a lot more to do with Tulammo in .223 Remington. In the Lucky Gunner Steel Case VS Brass test Wolf and Brown Bear completed the test; they did accelerate barrel wear due to steel jackets and rapid use.
Tulammo could not finish the test due to unreliability. With piezo sensors they narrowed down the issue to incompatible powder.
Tulammo used the same powder they use for 7.62x39 loading, something resembling AA2200. This powder has a faster burn rate than H335 or BLC2, generating high pressure early in ignition, pressures dropping down with the bullet still in the barrel.
Originally Posted by gdees View Post
This thread is turning into AR vs Mini. Someone kill it
It was due to the Tulammo, I even let the guy shoot a few of my 62gr Monarch lacquer coated .223's and it did not want to cycle that stuff either. I personally couldn't own a rifle that is a picky eater, especially when said ammo dominates the shelves at wal-mart, academy, bass pro, dick's, and other big brand stores. There is no AR vs Mini with me, because there is no comparison when it come to reliability.
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Old 03-22-2017, 06:50   #21
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Google Hornady Steel Match. Believe it came out during the height of the ammo shortages around the last presidential election 2010-2012. 9NATO, .40SW , .45ACP, .223 and .308 loads. Only .223 and .308 still made. Superseded by American Gunner lines in above calibers.

When you read the reviews, the consistent complaint that keeps coming up is failure to fire; dimpling the primer and often with AR10 platforms. Complaints don't usually go with M14 or FAL users. I'm betting that happened a lot more often with the pistol calibers, hence their being discontinued.
Hard primers seem to be endemic to import steel case ammo with berdan priming. Believe Hornady sources their steel match brass from PPU or Ruag. I believe there's a core issue with US firearms designs not made to accommodate steel Berdan primers.

I know half of Wally World's inventory is Tula, Wolf or Brown Bear. Still have some stashed, but I have Saigas and SKSs that can feed it. I've just found it easier to stock up on Yugo and PMC brass and reload with Hornady PSP or Z-Max bullets.
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Old 03-22-2017, 07:26   #22
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For me, the biggest problem is I don't live in Free America. I'm stuck for a few more years until my children are out of College. Until then, my go-to rifle is a Mini-30. The design slightly benefits SPs and HPs over the Saiga and SKS. I have a bit more confidence in a 123 grain PSP at 2300fps then a 55 grain PSP at 3100 fps. My old workplace still has pics of what Remington R223R1 does to calves and bellys.
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Old 03-22-2017, 10:29   #23
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Back to the main topic, I think most of the reasons have been laid out: market demand, specific competition, cost of manufacturing, etc. There is no direct competitor to the Mini. AR is indirect. CA, NY, NJ, and a number of other commie states are death on ARs, but generally not Minis. Count the populations of just those three and there is a significant demand for a "non-evil-looking" semi. That would be the Mini. Not to mention its inherent reliability.

It bugs me a little that, despite tremendous advances, the Mini still requires "fitment" by Ruger for some things that should be swappable by the user. That is also a reason for the higher cost, as several parts are hand-fit. Sort of violates the whole concept of the M1 Carbine.

My nephew loves his Sig AR gas piston, and it is a very fine weapon far more expensive than a Mini. But he is absolutely in love with my 181 Mini and will probably have an org over the newer one the first time he handles it and shoots it. He'll get them both in the end, and he and I are happy for that, since I'll know on my deathbed my precious Minis will be in good hands.

He would hate an AR556. Spoiled, I guess.
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Old 03-22-2017, 12:23   #24
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ARs are not always fond of steel cased ammo. The lacquer doesnt help, nor the harder case, and harder primers. Plenty of ARs do fine, but not like shooting say Wolf in a Mini-14.
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Old 03-22-2017, 15:38   #25
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AR parts are made in large volume these days which allow the cost of manufacture to be driven down. That and the Mini is harder to manufacture and it is proprietary.
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